Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Crosses Made in Chinese Sweatshops

An absolutely appalling story that I’m working on for a longer expose for the Michigan Messenger. The National Labor Committee released a report documenting that crucifixes sold in Christian bookstores all over the US are being made in a sweatshop in China that is far below even the Chinese legal standards. A sample of the findings:

At the Junxingye factory in China, the mostly young women–including several 15- and 16-year-olds–making crucifixes are forced to work 14 hours to 15½ hours a day, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 11:30 p.m., seven days a week. They also work frequent 18-hour and 19-hour shifts ending at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Before shipments of crucifixes must leave for the United States, there are even mandatory, all-night 22½-hour to 25-hour shifts, from 8 a.m. straight through to 6:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. the following morning. Workers are routinely at the factory more than 100 hours a week, including being forced to work 51 hours of overtime, which exceeds China’s legal limit by 514 percent. Young women go for months on end without a day off.

On top of that, the workers live in horrible conditions and are forced to pay to live there, further reducing their wages and forcing them to live in mold-infested dorms. There are also indications of unsafe chemicals. The NLC sent people in and they managed to smuggle out documents and pictures. The primary importer of these items, the Association for Christian Retail (founded as the Christian Booksellers Association) is offering only vague denials at this point. Stay tuned for more.